The last two weeks we talked about Google+ for Business and how to create a page for your business. This week it’s Linkedin’s turn. With more than 300 million members and almost half of those being decision makers, LinkedIn has become one of the most influential social media networks of the 21st Century. As a business, you can’t afford to ignore it. But how can use it to its full potential and grow your business through it? Here are some tips that will help you get there
- Create a killer LinkedIn personal profile and company page
The way we do business has changed significantly. People will like you and your company first and THEN they will buy your product. Even if you have the best product in the world, if people do not trust you and your company they will not buy it from you. Full Stop. When people Google your company or your name, most often your LinkedIn profile will come up first, even before your own website. And in this fast paced world you only have a few seconds to make a great first impression. So, do not write your profile as a resume, nobody cares much about your degrees and work experience; people are looking for someone who understands what they need and has a solution to offer them. If you don’t do this, you will get left behind. Simple as that.Your profile needs to help you build online credibility and trust, so here are a few tips:
- Cut down your skills and endorsements to a maximum of 5. This will tell people your are an expert and not a generalist
- Aim to get double as many recommendations as your competitors have
- Make sure your headline tells potential customers exactly what you do and what you can offer them (do not make it too salesy though)
- Ensure your summary is written as a story and that it clearly showcases how your service/product solves the challenges your target marketing are facing. This section is by far the most important within your profile as it is probably the very first thing people will look at.
- List publications, interviews, key achievements and endorsements with links if possible.
- Optimise your profile for search engines
If your business marketing strategy does not include SEO, then think again. There are over 1 billion annual searches on LinkedIn and 87% of purchases start with a Search Engine so you need to make sure you are there when your customers are looking for you. Include keywords in your headline and summary, anchored text, recommendations and endorsements so you will be found on Google and LinkedIn searches.
- Publish blogs on LinkedIn
A recent survey indicates that 31% of customers are influenced by blog posts (Technorati). So, it makes sense for every small business to post articles on their blog, their website and on LinkedIn to reach and connect with their audience. This is a great way to build a following on LinkedIn and get your message in front of key decision makers and or potential clients. If your content is good it will get liked, commented and even shared and in a relatively short period of time could reach thousands of people. And it may even go viral and reach millions! Again, it is simple, the more people who follow you, the more chances you have to secure new clients and grow your business.
- Secure LinkedIn Recommendations
86% of consumers are influenced by recommendations. There are over 1 billion annual recommendations on LinkedIn, so you and your business need to be part of this “word of mouth” marketing strategy. Recommendations work as referrals so you need to secure as many as possible to make a difference with your potential customers.
- Participate in a Local LinkedIn Group
The average LinkedIn user joins 7 groups, and over 70% of customers use groups to research, network and make buying decisions. So, join as many LinkedIn groups as possible to be as accessible as many other group members as you can. Then try and participate in a non-promotional way, in 5 or 6 groups to network with other business owners, customers and media.
- Have a clear plan or purpose for being on LinkedIn
Look at your marketing objectives for the next 6-12 months. Then think of the people you need to connect with to achieve those results and use LinkedIn to connect with those individuals. For example, if I own a financial advising firm, my objectives could be to secure a total of 8-10 new clients in the next year. So, in order to achieve this I know that I need to connect with accountants, lawyers, mortgage brokers and other financial services companies. It is also important to connect with online media and journalists who write on my subject matter. In other words, if you want to effectively grow your business using LinkedIn, every one of your connections needs to be linked to your goals in business for now and for the future.
- Showcase Your Work In Video, Slides, Interview, etc.
With LinkedIn you can share work examples, thoughts, research or points of view to influence your customers. An easy and “inbuilt” way to do all this is for example with SlideShare.